Ireland happy to return home with tough test against world champions

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The Independent Online

Ireland move back into the rebuilt Lansdowne Road this evening with a fitting opener against South Africa, the world champions.

Despite the furore over the Irish Rugby Football Union's ticketing policy, it seems that the shimmering glasshouse of the Aviva Stadium will not be a long way short of its 51,700 capacity for the occasion.

Declan Kidney's men are on a run of three Test defeats – five matches in all, including non-cap contests against the Barbarians and the Maori. Having departed from Croker Park with a choker of a defeat against Scotland in March, they are determined not to underestimate the threat posed by a seemingly down-at-heel Springbok side.

South Africa arrive without 13 members of their regular squad, with head coach Peter de Villiers under pressure after five out of six defeats in the Tri-Nations – and with the additional scare of a passenger on their flight having attempted to open the emergency door at 39,000 feet. They have lost on their last three visits to Dublin.

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